The streets around Shomrei Hadas Chapels were clogged with people as stiff winds and unfathomable grief filled the air during the levaya which took place at 3 PM this afternoon.
The service began with prayers in Hebrew and shrieks could be heard through speakers that broadcast the funeral to the several thousand people gathered inside and on the streets.
Seven coffins were lined up inside the funeral chapel. The standing room only crowd was addressed briefly by the heartbroken father, Gabriel Sassoon, who told everyone present that his children represented seven pure offerings, sacrificed on Rosh Chodesh Nissan.
“They were so pure,” said Sassoon who was at a religious conference when the flames broke out. “My wife, she came out fighting.”
“My children were unbelievable. They were the best,” lamented Sassoon as mourners outside the funeral home cried in the streets. “You have to love them as parents. You have to love them as teachers.”
“I don’t know how I could have everything and now I have nothing,” said Sassoon.
“There’s only one way to survive this: It’s complete, utter and total surrender,” he wailed.
Due to the Sephardic tradition of not eulogizing the dead, the seven hearses that carried the four brothers and three sisters who died in the fire were on their way to JFK Airport shortly after 3:30.
The children, ages five to sixteen, will be buried tomorrow on Har Hamenuchos, while their mother and one remaining sister remain hospitalized in critical condition with serious burns sustained during the blaze that swept through their Bedford Avenue home in one of the deadliest fires to hit the city in years.
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